The New York Mets needed a lot of things Thursday night — none more than the early lead they took on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Mets will look to build off Thursday’s wire-to-wire win on Friday night, when they host the Pirates in the second game of a four-game series.
Taijuan Walker (11-4, 3.48 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Mets against Mitch Keller (5-10, 4.01) in a battle of right-handers.
Daniel Vogelbach snapped a lengthy slump for Mets designated hitters with a two-run first inning single on Thursday as New York rolled to a 7-1 victory.
Vogelbach’s hit gave the Mets their first lead of a homestand that began with New York getting swept in a three-game series by the sub-.500 Chicago Cubs.
“It’s good to get ahead and get some breathing room,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I thought the two runs we scored early kind of gave everybody a little breath.”
Carlos Carrasco, starting one night after the Mets’ bullpen had to get 26 outs in a 6-3 loss to the Cubs, struck out a season-high 11 over six innings as National League East-leading New York (90-55) snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Mets increased their lead to one game over the idle Atlanta Braves in the race for the division title and the likely second bye in the NL playoffs.
New York’s Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer — his 24th long ball of the year, setting a team record for most round-trippers by a shortstop in a season — and Vogelbach had an RBI single in the third. Mark Vientos, pinch-hitting for Vogelbach in the fourth, delivered his first major league hit, an RBI single.
Mets designated hitters had just four RBIs in the team’s previous 20 games combined.
“I’m just happy a lot of guys were able to contribute to today’s win, including myself,” Lindor said.
The Pirates (55-89) had their four-game winning streak ended. Pittsburgh hasn’t won five in a row since April 2019.
On Thursday, the Pirates were limited to four hits — two apiece by Bryan Reynolds and Michael Chavis against Carrasco — and struck out 16 times. Carrasco and relievers Seth Lugo and Joely Rodriguez combined to set down the final 17 batters they faced, eight by strikeout.
“I think we got a little bit aggressive and then (Carrasco) executed pitches,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of the Pirates, who had five players in their starting lineup age 25 or younger. “He’s a veteran guy and he executed pitches to younger players.”
Walker earned a win on Sunday, when he gave up one run over seven innings as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins 9-3. Keller didn’t factor into the decision on Sunday despite allowing two hits over seven scoreless innings in the Pirates’ 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was the second straight scoreless outing for Keller, who made his first appearance against the Mets on Sept. 6 earning an 8-2 victory by blanking New York for six innings.
Walker is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates. He took a loss Sept. 6 vs. Keller and Pittsburgh after giving up four runs over five innings.
–Field Level Media